Above, The Glorified Tomato captured the last of the wooden boardwalk being demolished along Rockaway Beach. Badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the city is in the process of slowly rebuilding it — a project plagued with setbacks, delays and controversial designs. The city, however, just received $480 million from FEMA to help along the process. The entire rebuilding should (hopefully!) wrap in 2017, with portions of the boardwalk open by next year.
Last week, FEMA approved $480 million in funding to build out the Rockaway boardwalk, severely damaged since Hurricane Sandy. Since rebuilding efforts kicked off, this project has been plagued with setbacks, delays and controversial designs. But DNAinfo reports that this money — a huge boost from the initial budget of $270 million — “is provided through a pilot program that is giving grants for one project as opposed to the usual process of incremental funding and incremental applications to FEMA.” DNAinfo also broke down how much money is going toward what — $199 million for sand barriers and boardwalk elevation, $263 million for 1 million new square feet of boardwalk, park benches, light poles, stairs and ramps. $18 million will be for administrative costs.
The entire rebuilding process is slated to wrap in 2017, although there will be portions of the boardwalk open by next year.
Friends of Rockaway has partnered with the non-profit St. Bernard Project to continue rebuilding in the Far Rockaways post Hurricane Sandy. The goal is to bring 60 families who have been displaced by Sandy for more than 800 days now back to their houses in 2016. The rebuilding work will continue until each family is home. Friends of the Rockaway is currently recruiting volunteers — “We’re building a team of talented, passionate, and flexible AmeriCorps members to get the job done,” the organization announced on Facebook today. If you’re interested, you can apply to be an AmeriCorps member at the Friends of Rockaway website.
On a related note, DNAinfo reports that the city has started holding public hearings in all five boroughs on how to spend close to $1 billion in federal Hurricane Sandy relief dollars. The Queens meeting is tonight, 7 pm, at Beach Channel High School, 100-01 Beach Channel Drive.
Nobody wants to think about it, but Labor Day is around the corner, and that means one thing: It’s time to head to the peninsula to check out the large-scale, multi-site, mostly outdoor art installation Rockaway! before it ends. This free, summer-long display celebrates the reopening of Fort Tilden, a former U.S. Army base in the Gateway National Recreation Area that sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy. Visitors can peruse photographs taken by punk rocker Patti Smith, a gallery dedicated to Walt Whitman that includes books of his poetry, and nest sculptures by Adrián Villar Rojas (above). Installed in several locations, these nests invite local birds to inhabit them. Other components include The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff (first photo below), a spatialized adaptation of a sacred 16th-century motet that’s in the former military chapel, and a mutli-genre collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial at the newly restored Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street. Rockaway! – a collaboration between the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, the National Park Service, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and Smith — also showcases Fort Tilden’s natural and historical beauty.
For more information on venues and times and four more photos, go to the jump page.
It’s a multi-faceted event for a multi-purposed cause. On Saturday, the eighth annual Rockstock and Barrels Festival will fill the Rockaway peninsula with about 11 hours of live music, gnarly surfing contests, rad skateboarding exhibitions and fun beach games. There will also be art, clothing and food vendors. Last year’s extravaganza attracted about 8,000 attendees, including surfers from as far away as California and musicians from all over the United States, to an area that was still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. This year’s event should be even better and proceeds will support the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit that supports everything the peninsula has to offer, including the work of artists, writers, musicians and all lovers of surf and beach.
Details: Rockstock and Barrels Festival, Boardwalk at Beach 90th Street, Rockaway Beach, June 28th, 10 am to nighttime. Free.
List of scheduled main stage performers: Matthew Kiss, 11 am; The Mourning War, noon; The Wordy Bums, 1 pm; Exit Verona, 2 pm; The King’s Heartbeat, 3 pm; Groundswell, 4 pm; Symptom 7, 5 pm; and Grim Pickens, 6 pm.
List of scheduled second stage performers: John Simonelli, 10:30 am; Ethoscope, 11:30 am; The Ready Hentchmen, 12:30 pm; The Disfunction, 1:30 pm; Rat-Trap Bumpkin, 2:30 pm; Kilzone, 3:30 pm; The Rev Jefferson, 4:30 pm; Shipwrecks, 5:30 pm; and Indaculture, 6:30 pm.
Three of the band members are dead, and the original crew hasn’t been seen together since an event at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on July 20, 1999. Nevertheless, the Ramones are the focal point of a recently launched Queens tourism campaign. The punk legends’ song “Rockaway Beach” is part of a radio ad campaign to attract visitors to the peninsula, where businesses have been rebuilding since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Working with the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Volunteers of Legal Service, altruists from the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, led by attorney Jennifer Carmen, secured the rights to the ditty, which was first released in 1977. Citi Community Development then sponsored the ads as part of a larger project to restore businesses along Beach 116th Street.
In a way, the Ramones have come full circle, as they grew up in Forest Hills and rode many waves at Rockaway Beach during their youth. Here are some lyrics from the song: Chewin’ at a rhythm on my bubble gum; The sun is out, I want some; It’s not hard, not far to reach; We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach.Click here to listen to one of the ads, which are currently playing on WFAN, WCBS and WINS.
Some of those seeking to boost tourism in the Rockaways gathered for a photo on Beach 116th Street on Thursday. They are (from left): Seth Bornstein, Queens Economic Development Corporation; Robert Kaskel, Thai Rock; Tom Murphy, Curran’s Superior Meats; Denise Diehm, The Gift is Love; Mark S. Mina, MSM Elite Productions; Michael Adel, Paninico Café; Krzysztof Sadlej, Beach 116th Street Partnership; Glenn DiResto, Rockaway Jet Ski; Ben Cox, Volunteers of Legal Service; Sharon Banks, Citi Rockaway Branch Manager; Edward Odom, Citi Community Development; and Michael Badalov, M & L Hair & Nail Salon.
Top photo: Ramones FB; Bottom photo: Queens Economic Development Corporation
Yesterday Mayor de Blasio pledged to overhaul the city’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, announcing a number of reforms to jumpstart the process. You can see the entire PDF report here or read more details from the Mayor’s office here. The reforms include ways to improve the experience of homeowners navigating the pre-construction process, expanding eligibility for acquisition and reimbursement, establishing better coordination among city, state, and federal partners, and working closely with local communities in the rebuilding efforts.
According to the Times, the Mayor hopes that the city will have started construction on 500 new homes and mailed out 500 reimbursement checks for previously performed repairs by the end of the summer. Only 30 residents received their payments so far. As Brad Gair — who worked on rebuilding efforts during Bloomberg’s term — told the Times, “Anything that helps expedite the assistance to the homeowners who are still in need, I think is very positive. The challenge really becomes how you implement and process that.”
NY1 got the check out proposals for Rebuild by Design, a competition responding to Hurricane Sandy by asking design professionals to envision solutions that increase resilience across the Sandy-affected region. Proposals span from Lower Manhattan to Hunt’s Point in the Bronx to Red Hook, Brooklyn. In Queens, designers proposed an elevated subway platform and commercial strip in Rockaway Park, rendered above.
The winners of the competition will be picked later this month. The winning design solutions may be able to be implemented with disaster recovery grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as other sources of public and private- sector funding.
The Rockawayist took a trip to Fort Tilden, where beach access and pathways have been closed off since Hurricane Sandy. There’s some good news, though: A cleanup is under way. Here’s the latest report from the Rockawayist:
The trails of Battery Harris East and Battery Harris West have been completely cleared of debris. And although those old Nike missile installations have been recently repainted, Battery Harris East has been claimed anew by graffiti tags. The stairs leading to the viewing platform atop Battery Harris East are still fully functional, offering stunning views of the ocean, Jamaica Bay and the Manhattan skyline. The park is still dotted with a number of abandoned buildings, which seem largely undamaged by the storm. And they continue to be a unique canvas for graffiti.
The concrete path along Shore Road, badly torn up by the storm, still remains a mess. Check out this awesome Flickr account of the whole area. The city’s goal is to reopen the park for the summer of this year.
Over the holiday weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a major initiative for post Sandy improvements in Howard Beach. New York Daily News says that feds approved a $50,000,000 project (funded by federal recovery funds) to “develop sand dunes, salt marshes and other vegetation along a section of the Queens coastline in a bid to keep floodwaters from reaching businesses and homes.” These improvements are slated for a 150-acre tract along Spring Creek and Jamaica Bay. Engineering studies and design work will start up in 2014, and construction is only expected to take a year. When Sandy hit more than one year ago, a total of 3,000 homes in the Howard Beach area suffered serious damage.